Where Do People Get Their Local News?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A recent study showed that 69% of people said if their local newspaper no longer existed their community wouldn't be largely effected. The study, done for the Project of Excellence in Journalism and Pew Internet & American Life Project showed a lot of interesting facts about where people tune in for local news.

Here's the breakdown of what media people turned to for what type of news:

  • Top source for news on community events, crimes, taxes, local government, arts and culture, social services, zoning and development
  • Ties with the internet as top source on housing, schools and jobs
  • Ties with TV as top source for local political news
  • Top source for weather and breaking news
  • Ties with radio as top source for traffic news
  • Ties with newspaper as top source for political news
  • Top source for information about restaurants and other local businesses
  • Ties with the newspaper as top source on housing, schools and jobs
  • Ties with internet as top source for traffic news
There are several contradicting findings in this study. Even though people said they would not be affected in a major way if their local newspaper were to shut down, they also said they rely on their local newspaper for 11 of the 16 news topics they are concerned about.

The most popular local topics that people want to get news about are weather (89%), breaking news (80%), local politics (67%), and crime (66%). Some less popular topics were zoning and development information, local social services, job openings and local government activities.

The study also found that 47%, nearly half, of all people use mobile devices to get their online information. In the survey a lot of people said they used the internet for a lot of their information. I think it would be interesting to go further in depth with the survey and see how many people were using an actual computer and how many were using a mobile internet device.

I've heard a lot of my friends say they assume everyone gets their news from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, so I think it's interesting that the study found only 17% percent of people rely on sites like these for local news.

It's also interesting to see that although a lot of people refer to local news as it's own entity, you can still break it down further. Local news is still coming from a variety of different sources, and although I've heard "the medium is the message" it seems like the type of message people are looking for still determines which medium they use.


Rachel Smith September 27, 2011 at 6:47 PM  

This is great information. Although it is sad that the newspaper is "dying" it is interesting to watch how the professional world of journalism is going to change to keep up with people's demand for news in another source than the paper.

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